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I want to download Visual Studio 2010 Express Edition to learn all that is new in it. I find it insufficient as there is no Crystal Reports integration in it. Apart from that I want to learn other enterprise features that are bundled with the Professional Edition.

If I download the VS 2010 Professional Edition, it is just limited to 90 days. Is there any other alternative for learners?

Also, is there any FREE alternative for reporting in Express Edition.

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4  
I would suggest changing your title to be more reflective of your question. Most people would say "Yes!" to the title, figuring you are asking about learning .NET development. Your specific questions about reporting and time limits need specific attention. –  nlawalker Oct 27 '10 at 21:30
    
@nlawalker: Agreed. Changed the title. –  RPK Oct 28 '10 at 4:31

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted
+50

You can't do reporting with Express. There isn't some trick to turn the free product into the paid product, and there isn't some obligation on Microsoft that they should have all the same features in the free and paid product. As you are saying, there's great value in those reporting features, and that's why people buy the versions that cost money. Just because Microsoft says you're allowed to sell the products you make with Express, they're not saying you can have any and all features in Express that you might use to make a product you will sell.

That said, you can probably get the versions that cost money for free. If you're writing software you intend to sell, if you make web sites for customers, or if you're a student (high school or college/university) then there are programs from Microsoft that give you free licenses of non-Express editions.

See http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/8055/can-a-developer-get-volume-discount-for-microsoft-products which has several answers that have nothing to do with "volume discounts" because they actually explain how to get the full featured product for free.

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4  
There is a trick that turns a free product into the paid product: paying for it. :) –  Anna Lear Oct 28 '10 at 13:58

You can download and use any full version of VS2010 and try it out for 90 days (after 30 days, register it to extend it 60 more days). All of these versions (Professional, Premium, Ultimate) have Crystal Reports.

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Great. I will register and dip hands to learn the enterprise features but as of now I want to develop a commercial product using Express Edition. What is the reporting solution? –  RPK Oct 28 '10 at 4:34
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@RPK: As far as I know, there isn't a reporting solution with the Express Edition. But with enough ingenuity like having mulitple Windows Live accounts to keep a trial of the Professional edition of VS2010 going until your resulting product sells for enough to buy the Professional version. –  Todd Main Oct 28 '10 at 5:25

After 30 days, you must 'register' the software using a .NET passport account, which is free.

While the product suite is complete - you can write code, no problem - a lot of the interesting features are not there. No class diagrams, mixed-language projects, etc and certainly not any 'Enterprise Features'. In fact, you're actually downloading an ISO file with 4 distinct products in it, so it doesn't feel as 'integrated' as VS Pro.

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But what about reporting? There is no Crystal Report support. –  RPK Oct 24 '10 at 16:16

It depends on what you want to learn. Is Crystal Reports essential for you ? Otherwise for learning .Net it is quite full featured. Granted it doesn't comer with built in MS Test framework but learning unit testing with NUnit and using the NUnit GUI runner is quite easy anyway. The other thing is source control integration but that can be done externally (e.g. Subversion and Tortoise) quite easily.
As a perspective when I was doing C++ programming on Visual Studio 6 there was no free edition to learn with. The express editions are a great option for today's students and learners.

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Reporting is essential for me. If Microsoft says that the Express Edition can be used for commercial purposes, what I can deliver without reports. –  RPK Oct 28 '10 at 4:33
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@RPK There are plenty of applications out there that don't use generate reports or at least don't use Crystal Reports for that purpose. –  Anna Lear Oct 28 '10 at 14:11
    
@Anna: What are the alternatives? –  RPK Oct 30 '10 at 4:49
    
@RPK: I was thinking along the lines of "use their own homegrown solutions" rather than CR alternatives. –  Anna Lear Oct 30 '10 at 14:34

The problem is that most reporting packages are commercial. That being said, have you thought about programs like Bizspark and websitespark that offer free software licenses? There are requirements to enroll, but from the sounds of it you should be eligible. Here are the links - http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/ and http://www.bizspark.com/Programs/Pages/WebsiteSpark.aspx

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I'd like to point out also that Crystal Reports tools aren't integrated anymore in VS since version 2008. They have been replaced by MS Reports, and I found them more powerful and easy to use than CR. VS does anyway support the CR format for legacy projects, it just doesn't provide you the templates to create them.

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I guess Crystal Reports is there in VS2008. I am using it. Can you elaborate what is MS Reports? Are you talking about SQL Server Reporting Services? –  RPK Oct 29 '10 at 17:21
    
No. I'm talking about MS reports. Their extension is .rdlc and they are native in VS2008 and VS2010 instead of Crystal Reports, which are still supported as I mentioned anyway. –  Matteo Mosca Oct 29 '10 at 17:23
    
Can you send any link on how to use it? –  RPK Oct 30 '10 at 4:50
    
I don't really have any "good link" for this - just google it :) –  Matteo Mosca Oct 30 '10 at 9:05

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